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PracticePanther Legal

PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to medium-sized practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy law, personal injury, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The... Read More
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Logikcull

Logikcull is a cloud-based system for managing the process of legal discovery. With Logikcull, practices are able to drag and drop files, search, cull and create discovery productions within a secure system. Logikcull makes documents... Read More
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AbacusLaw

Abacus Law is a case automation software for legal practices. The system works as a practice management tool and scales to grow with a business. This system allows users to automate deadline management through the use of rules based... Read More
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Firm Central

Firm Central is a cloud-based legal management solution by Thomson Reuters. It features matter management, time and billing, scheduling and document assembly. Three different packages are available: Core, Essential and Premier. All... Read More
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Clio

Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management solution suitable for small to large law firms. The platform enables legal firms to track important deadlines, manage cases and documents and bill and collect from clients. The time... Read More
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MerusCase

MerusCase is a legal practice management system offering an integrated platform of solutions for U.S. law firms. The system is HIPAA compliant and offers document management, timetracking and billing, calendaring and communication... Read More
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CosmoLex

CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management software that offers advanced features and fully-integrated applications for an all-in-one solution. Named TechnoLawyer Newswire’s Top 25 Product of 2014, it includes time tracking, billing,... Read More
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MyCase

A recent winner of the Silver Stevie Award for Best Customer Service, MyCase is a unique and intuitive web-based system created expressly for lawyers. Designed originally to help facilitate better communication between attorneys and... Read More
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LegalEdge

LegalEdge is a web-based or on premise platform offering customizable solutions suitable for criminal, government, and litigation practices of all sizes. A smartphone interface allows users to access the system from any mobile device... Read More
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Jarvis Legal

Jarvis Legal is a legal practice management system designed for small law firms and solo practitioners. The software features include automatic time tracking, document management and reporting, client and case management. The application... Read More
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Essential

Essential by Anaqua is a mobile-ready platform offering legal management tools to intellectual property firms. It offers highly configurable workflows to meet a firm’s needs, policies, and procedures as well as client-specific processes. Case... Read More
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TimeSolv Legal

TimeSolv is a cloud-based project management and billing solution specifically designed for law firms, but it can also be used by accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers. TimeSolv integrates project management features... Read More
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SmartAdvocate

Conceptualized by a partner at a personal injury law firm, SmartAdvocate is a legal management platform that offers flexible deployment options and a modular suite of applications.  In addition to case management, attorneys and their... Read More
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Smokeball

Smokeball is a cloud-based legal practice management for small firms that can be used in a variety of specialities. Key features include case management, contact management, calendaring, time tracking, billing and accounting.  Smokeball... Read More
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Mitratech

Mitratech is a legal management system suitable for midsize to large corporate law firms. Key features include case management, contact management, document management, calendaring and docketing, time tracking, billing and invoicing... Read More
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Zola Suite

Zola Suite is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for single users as well as small and midsize law firms. Key features include task management, built-in email, document management, client portals, a calendar, contact... Read More
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Prevail Case Management

With 21 years of experience, Prevail Case Management System by Practice Technology, Inc. has one of the market's most popular legal case management solutions, offering some of the lowest total cost of ownership and fastest ROI in their... Read More
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Coyote Analytics

Coyote Analytics is a comprehensive financial software system specifically built to meet the needs of law firms that is available in both web-based and on-premise formats. The program includes modules for billing, accounting, and administration,... Read More
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Actionstep

Actionstep is a cloud-based legal practice management solution designed for growing and midsize firms. The integrated solution offers tools for managing cases, billing, invoicing and accounting as well as enables businesses to automate... Read More
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Rocket Matter

A Legal Management system designed for small and mid-sized practices, Rocket Matter provides a way to improve invoice accuracy, and reduce the time it takes to generate invoices. The system also provides document management, so that... Read More
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ProLaw

Suitable for mid-size and large legal practices, ProLaw by Thomson Reuters Elite helps to streamline key parts of the law firm management process. The financial management application automates the time tracking and expense management... Read More
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Law Ruler Legal Practice Management

Law Ruler is a web-based practice management system with a full suite of features for law firms. It offers case management on a standalone basis, as well as document management, contact management, calendaring and docketing, billing... Read More
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CoCounselor

CoCounselor provides a cloud-based legal management solution tailored specifically to the unique needs of plaintiff’s lawyers. With CoCounselor, users gain access to a comprehensive suite of solutions that shows them the health of... Read More
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LegalTrek

LegalTrek is comprehensive legal practice management solution designed for boutique and midsize law firms worldwide. Focused on project management and billing, LegalTrek helps structure and improve day-to-day operations so firms can... Read More
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HoudiniEsq

HoudiniEsq is a law practice management soluiton for law practices of all sizes. This software can be installed both on-premise and in the cloud. HoudiniEsq features case budgets, time tracking, case and matter management, full text... Read More
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Legal CRM

Legal CRM by FyNSiS is a legal management software solution. It is available either hosted in the cloud or as an on-premise deployment. It includes functionality for case management, contact management, billing and invoicing, calendaring... Read More
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LawAlign Case Management Software

LawAlign is a legal management software solution specializing in personal injury case management. This solution offers customizable integration plans based on the systems users already have in place and is available for on-premise... Read More
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Everlaw

Everlaw is a cloud-based legal management solution specializing in e-discovery support. Key features include advanced search capabilities, a prediction engine that calls up relevant documents and a context panel where users can see... Read More
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App4Legal

App4Legal is a law practice management solution designed by lawyers for lawyers. A Web-based system, it is available for server or cloud deployment and offers a mobile app for anywhere, anytime access. With App4Legal, users can... Read More
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The Legal Assistant

The Legal Assistant is a complete legal management software solution available for either cloud-based or on-premise deployment. It is suitable for legal practices of any size. Different modules are available for specific areas of law,... Read More
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LawGro

LawGro is a cloud-based business management solution for small to midsize legal practices. Key features include contact management, case management, task management, time and expense tracking, billing and invoicing, document management,... Read More
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TrialWorks

TrialWorks is a legal case management solution designed for litigation firms of all sizes. It helps firms manage processes including case intake, trial preparation, contact management and document management. TrialWorks enables users... Read More
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Buyer's Guide

Law firms face unique document management challenges. Largest among them: the very high quantity of paper documents legal practices use. Legal documents are also subject to varying confidentiality and privacy regulations, which mandate how these documents can be accessed, stored, changed and distributed.

Within the broad genre of content management software (CMS) is a category that addresses the specific challenges law firms face: legal document management software. To help your law firm better understand this software and make a more informed purchase decision, we’ll cover the following:

What Is Legal Document Management Software?
Common Features of Legal Document Management Software
Key Considerations
Pricing and Purchasing Options

What Is Legal Document Management Software?

It's is a form of document management software made specifically for lawyers, law firms or any entity operating in the field of law. It is distinct from legal practice management software, which has a broader set of functionality, including tools to keep the firm’s internal processes and external filings on time and on track.

Legal document management software is intended to help firms achieve a variety of goals. Speaking broadly, these goals include:

  • Increasing productivity by making documents easier to find, search, access and share;
  • Improving the security and confidentiality of important documents by preventing unauthorized access; and
  • Adding consistency to internal and external documents by managing all of them through a common platform.

Common Functionality of Legal Document Management Software

To achieve the above-listed goals, software products will include some or all of the following features and tools:

Document capture tools Scan paper documents and convert them into digital files, including image files, PDFs and text files.
PDF tools PDF is the file format of choice for most legal document management systems: PDF tools help create, edit, manage and add signatures to such files.
Advanced search Helps users find documents quickly by looking for specific text strings within documents and by filtering with metadata.
Access control Controls who can access, change and distribute digital documents. Keeps logs of access activities and summarizes them in reports.
Organizational tools Automates the documentation and management of cases, including approvals, role permissions and other necessary steps.
Version control Ensures that changes to documents do not delete older versions, preserving them in case they need to be used again.
Integration tools Incorporate document management functionalities directly into other software tools, such as email clients, CRM systems and court filing systems.

Some specialized software may also include, or integrate with, electronic signature functionality, which facilitates the legally-binding signing of documents on computers or mobile devices.

Key Considerations

Here are some key points to keep in mind during your search for a legal document management system:

Data security. Along with health and financial information, legal information is subject to some of the strictest regulatory oversight, and its management can be subject to local, state and federal statutes. Protecting digital information from theft and unauthorized access should be the primary concern for law firms considering implementation of a document management system.

Legal document management platforms increase data security in a number of ways. Many make use of a centralized portal through which all access to the system is controlled. Others use two-step authentication methods to ensure that new logins have been authenticated through two different means (e.g., email, phone or text message).

Extent of digitization. When implementing legal document management software, many law offices mistakenly believe that all existing and future paper documents will be converted to digital. This incorrect assumption can lead to problems and delays down the line.

As suggested by the American Bar Association, law offices should use document management systems to increase the number of “low paper workflows.” Working toward an entirely “paperless office” can be practical in some industries, but because of the sheer volume of paper documents involved, this is an impractical goal for law firms. Instead, firms should identify which processes stand to gain the most from digitization, and began with the documents associated with those.

Pricing and Purchasing Options

Legal document management software is available in both cloud-based and on-premise solutions:

Cloud-based products are typically sold via subscription license, meaning law firms would pay a recurring fee to use the software. Subscription licenses are commonly priced per user per month (some vendors offer discounts for annual contracts). This fee includes the cost for support, maintenance, annual updates and hosting.

Hosting on the vendor’s servers means that law firms won’t incur the IT costs associated with maintaining legal files on their own internal servers. As such, cloud-based software generally is less expensive upfront, although over time the costs of on-premise and cloud-based systems may converge.

Due to data security requirements, law firms should make certain that any cloud-based system they consider offers encryption services, bank-grade security and frequent data backups to ensure the safety and confidentiality of their clients’ legal documents.

Examples of cloud-based legal document management systems include:

On-premise solutions are most-often sold via perpetual license, meaning law offices pay an upfront fee to own the software. Firms would also be responsible for the costs associated with maintaining client data on their own internal servers, a responsibility that would likely necessitate on-site IT staff.

Examples of legal document management software available as on-premise solutions include:

Additionally, law firms can purchase document management software as a standalone, or best-of-breed solution, or as an application within a larger practice management platform. Firms purchasing a standalone system should check that the product integrates with the other software they are currently using, such as their case management solution or legal accounting system.